The AQUALIFE project stakeholders are not necessarily the same as the project "main audience".
Stakeholders are those agencies or groups of persons that are somehow involved in the use of the "water resource":
- ENEL and other providers or agencies in the hydroelectric sector;
- Farmers utilising water for irrigation, fertilizers and pesticides;
- Livestock farmers utilising anti-parasite products and stock nitrate-rich manure;
- Agencies and/or individual people involved in land reclamation;
- Municipal administrations managing wastewater treatment plants;
- Agencies and/or individual people managing aqueducts and waterworks;
- Regions and Provinces — Public Works and Civil Engineering sectors.
Such entities benefit from the utilisation of water resources, but they also have to assess the potential impact of such an use on the water resource itself, in compliance with what established by the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD: Directive 2000/60/EC), received in Italy as Law D.Lgs. 152/2006, which delegates to the Regions the development and management of water protection plans (PTA: Piani di Tutela delle Acque). Such plans must include management solutions to mitigate the possible impacts on water. All such PTAs also call for the protection or conservation of biodiversity, in compliance with the EU Habitat Directive.
The AQUALIFE Project educates and updates the project stakeholders about the present and future risks associated with the use of water by means of the many dissemination activities included in the project itself.
For example, water withdrawal for hydroelectric production (especially if located in or near protected areas) could benefit from an integrated management approach minimising the conflict between economic profit and environmental and biodiversity conservation. The AQUALIFE output — including its main product, the indicator system — could lead to concerted cycles of water withdrawal and release from hydroelectric plants so as to minimise the potential negative impacts on downstream human activities along a water course, as well as on the up- and downstream biodiversity, without any tangible loss of profit.
Waterworks agencies also are expected to benefit from the project deliverables. The expert system software and its comprehensive user manual will allow to quantify and limit the loss of biodiversity and "habitat value" in case of interventions such as stream channelisation and flow modifications. Such an accurate quantification of the (potential) loss of biodiversity may also provide the basis for the implementation of alternative, lower-impact approaches to minimise the hydraulic risk from the human perspective. Such a concerted, integrated approach to the use and safeguard of the water resource should also lead to a general consensus in the population at large, maybe even with tangible aesthetic effects on water resources (e.g., improved water clarity, absence of accumulation of decomposing organic matter, etc.).
The "main audience" of the AQUALIFE Project is comprised by people or agencies not directly involved in the management of water resources but nonetheless interested in the use of the AQUALIFE expert system:
- River catchment authorities;
- Agencies involved in the monitoring and conservation of biodiversity per se (regional environmental protection agencies; managers of protected areas; conservation and other non-profit groups).
The potential "main audience" users of the AQUALIFE expert system are free from any potential conflict of interest. The user-friendly AQUALIFE expert system also could help individual citizens to form a fact-based opinion and make informed decisions about environmental issues concerning the ever more precious water resource.